Survey Ranks Top Ten Biggest, Baddest Databases

By Brian Fonseca  |  Posted 2003-12-11

Survey Ranks Top Ten Biggest, Baddest Databases

The Winter Corp. has identified some emerging database trends in its Winter TopTen Program study.

The results of the study, unveiled last month and detailed by Winter this week, identify the worlds largest and most heavily used databases.

Measuring actual database size—meaning the total disk used for user tables, indices, summaries and aggregates—and not total storage, the TopTen Program featured 141 qualified and validated surveys representing 23 countries spanning all major DBMS, server and storage vendor products, noted officials from Waltham, Mass.-based The Winter Corporation.

The study distributed awards based upon 20 different categories focusing on online transaction processing (OLTP) and decision support systems (DSS). Metrics used to determine winners included database size; normalized data volume; number of rows, records, and objects; and peak workload activity. For peak load activity, the study examined the highest number of transactions per second for OLTP, while for DSS the highest number of concurrent, in-flight queries was analyzed.

Among the more notable findings, Microsoft Windows growth increased from less than 20 percent to over 40 percent in OLTP within operating system (OS) usage from 2001-2003, narrowing the gap the Unix and IBM z/OS mainframes hold as processor of choice.

Next page: Find out who took home the prize for largest database size for all OS environments and Unix.


Taking home the prize for largest database size for all OS environments and Unix, for the DSS portion was France Telecom boasting 29.2TB. France Telecom uses Oracle Corp. as its DBMS, Hewlett-Packard Co. as its storage and system vendor, and employs an SMP (symmetric multi-processing) architecture. In the Windows comparison for database size, ComScore Networks Inc. came in first with 8.9TB for its database. ComScore relies upon Sybase and its Sybase IQ offering as its DBMS, Dell for its systems, and EMC as its storage provider in a clustered architecture. In 2001, ComScore finished on top in the same category with only 1.5TB.

Richard Winter, president of the Winter Corporation, said the proliferation of new devices to capture information and the emergence of radio frequency ID tags on new products will lead to even further database size increases.

"DSS is accelerating beyond previous expectations. Not only in size, but also in workload, complexity of data and the complexity of usage," remarked Winter. "That is going to present a challenge to users of these systems because they face continuing needs to raise the level of management and engineering they provide."

Within the TopTen programs new Normalized Data Volume category, measuring data managed by the DBMS, AT&T ranked number one at 94.3TB, which is nearly three times as large as at 34.2TB in the number two slot.

For OLTP systems database size spanning all OS environments, Land Registry came in first with 18.3TB. EMC dominated the board by having its storage products used by 7 of the 10 vendors on the list. IBM and the mainframe also dominated the category, taking the first 5 spots and 8 of a possible ten. For OLTP Unix-based systems, in the second consecutive survey Oracle ran the board as the DBMS vendor used by each respondent. Lastly, in the Windows OLTP category HP servers were used by 7 of 10 organizations, and Microsoft SQL Server was the DBMS choice for seven respondents. Thats a huge leap compared to the 2001 survey findings, when not enough respondents met the minimum requirements to meet the size category.

The TopTen Program showed that Windows-based database size, particularly among DSS databases, is quickly rising, as the top ranking respondent in 2001 featured as much TB as the number 10 respondent in the 2003 study. In fact, Winter Corp. officials say that 45 percent of respondents in 2001 would not qualify for the 2003 versions measuring bar.

In order to qualify for the TopTen program consideration, any commercial production database implementation was required to feature a minimum of 500GB of data for Microsoft Corp.s Windows and NT platforms and 1TB of data for all other platforms. Respondents offered details through a questionnaire based upon their deployments size, workload and DBMS, server and storage environments.

The Winter Corporation has posted the full results of its TopTen Program on its Web site.

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